Dominoes are one of the oldest tools for game play. They are cousins of playing cards. Their history has been a mystery, with some claiming they were brought to Europe in the 14th century and others pointing to their Chinese origin. However, it is known that they were introduced to England by French prisoners of war around the late 1700s.
Before the game can begin, the players must agree on a target score. For example, if a player and his partner both get to 100 points, they win. If both players lose, the round is over. There are a variety of domino games to play, including blocking, scoring and layout games.
The basic game begins with a platform of three or four dominoes. Players take turns adding dominoes to the platform. After the first round, the game ends when one of the dominoes falls. In some domino games, a player must chip out before the other players can draw the next tile.
The game can be played with up to nine tiles at a time. The number of tiles drawn depends on the number of players and the size of the set. Double-nine dominoes have 55 tiles. A double-18 dominoes set has 190 tiles.
Traditionally, European-style dominoes are made of ivory or dark hardwood. These tiles are often rounded off to prevent scratching the tabletop. Other materials, such as bone, are used as well. The first domino in a game is referred to as the “heaviest.” This is usually the first double, which has two numbers on both ends. Another common variation has six pips.
In the first few rounds of the game, the player must place a tile so that it touches one of the ends of the domino chain. The second player may only play a tile with a number on one end. When this happens, the player says he has “stitched up” his domino. He can only move a tile if he can touch the other end of the chain.
The next player then must match one of the ends of the domino with part of the first tile. Alternatively, the player may add a tile to a line. Depending on the rules, the first tile that is placed can be on the left or right of the 6-6, and the fourth tile can be a 4-6 or a 5-5.
Players can choose to lay their tiles out in any direction. Usually, they are laid out perpendicular to the line. But in certain versions, they are allowed to be joined to all four sides of the domino.
The first tile is normally a double-six. After this, the third is a 4-6 or a 5-5. As with all the other tiles, the value of a tile is its number of spots. Since the first two tiles have only five spots each, the value of the second is the same.
Some dominos have no pips. Other dominoes have a pattern of pips. Typically, each pair is awarded pips for a single or a double.